The Great Turning
- Publication date
- agryfp, 2019, Helsinki, The Great Turning, Joanna Macy, Ernst Bloch, not-yet-become, BRexit, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Scotland, Finland, European Union, European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg, Council of Europe, Strasbourg Cathedral, City of Women Festival, Ljubljana, Lahore, Lahore Resolution
This entry shares the creative writing of Andrew Gryf Paterson, titled 'The Great Turning', a poem in Scots-English and International English written and revised between 25-28th August 2019, in Helsinki, Finland.
An accompanying photograph is included as visual reference for several of the images referred to in the text. Special thanks to Maija Fox for gifting of the small gouache painting and the conversation on 25.8.2019 about 'positive darkness' that sparked the writing's emergence in the witching hours of the following night. Much respect and appreciation to Mohamed Sleiman Labat, صحراوي Ṣaḥrāwī artist-researcher for sharing info about the phosphate extraction in Western Sahara, in relation to his project 'Phosfate' in collaboration with Finnish researcher Pekka Niskanen.
The writing is inspired by both personal and public political/ environmental topical events or imaginaries namely related to 'BRexit' and Eutrification of the Gulf of Finland in summer months, as one of the most polluted seas in the world. These themes were exposed to Paterson in August 2019, in which he was awarded professional cultural opportunities as an artist-researcher in a short 2-day residency with Andy Best & Merja Puustinen on their Catamaran 'Godzilla' in the Helsinki archipalego, in cooperation with Finnish Bioart Society #ImaginingGodzilla, aswell as an upcoming 'Orientation Tour' visit by cultural workers to Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan, in late October 2019, coordinated by Mondriaan Fund NL, in cooperation with Frame Finland). Further information about these experiences can be further explored with the following links:
Robert Burn's famously shared words about the 1707 Union of Scotland and England is from a poem called "Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation" in 1791. More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Such_a_Parcel_of_Rogues_in_a_Nation
Sheila Stewart MBE (1937-2014), the Scottish Traveller folk singer inspires words towards the end about drinking and being merry, with the refrain "that we may or might never meet here again" is borrowed from the folk song she carried in tradition called 'The Parting Glass'. Listen: https://soundcloud.com/fifesing/sheila-stewart-the-parting-glass
The phrase "The Future Will Be Feminist Or Not At All" is coined and promoted by Mesto Žensk City of Women Festival, in their 25th year of activity, Ljubljana, and other citie in Slovenia: http://www.cityofwomen.org
The Lahore Resolution (Urdu: قرارداد لاہور, Qarardad-e-Lahore; Bengali: লাহোর প্রস্তাব, Lahor Prostab), was written and prepared by Muhammad Zafarullah Khan and was presented by A. K. Fazlul Huq, the Prime Minister of Bengal, was a formal political statement adopted by the All-India Muslim League on the occasion of its three-day general session in Lahore on 22–24 March 1940. The resolution called for independent states as seen by the statement: "That geographically contiguous units are demarcated regions which should be constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute ‘independent states’ in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign." Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lahore_Resolution
The ongoing public political crisis ('the #BRexit democray crisis') in Scotland, UK with respect or not by the contemporary UK Government-led by Conservative PM Boris Johnson, is one of the main subjects of this creative writing, as personal, social, environmental issues weave in and around the ongoing topical news of 'no deal' outcome leaving the European Union, as well as anticipated future departure or ambition by the recent Conservative UK governement from the juristriction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France.
Paterson has a personal connection with this city, as at the time of writing it is the residence city of family members. He has regularly visited the ECHR since 2016, as an independent individual, to collect and distribute copies ("by eye to eye, heart to heart, hand to hand") of the European Convention of Human Rights in various languages, to artists, curators, researchers and activists criss-crossed across the European Continent. More info about ECHR: https://www.echr.coe.int
To see PDF copies of the Convention visit: https://www.echr.coe.int/Pages/home.aspx?p=basictexts/convention
Referenced, and ideally also evoked in reading, are the philosophical writings of philosopher (utopian christian marxist) Ernst Bloch, especially with his imagination of an 'Vor-Schein' (anticipatory illumination), of maintaining 'aufrechter Gang' (an upright gait), and 'nocht-nicht-geworden' (not-yet-become), as these terms are translated by Jack Zipes, 1987, in Ernst Bloch's 'The Utopian Function of Art and Literature: Selected Essays, published by MIT Press, 1996.
The author of this entry (Paterson) firmly believes the anticipated 'no deal BRexit' to be an abomination of social and democratic justice for both EU residents living in the UK, aswell as British subjects/passport holders who are due to lose European citizenship and residence rights that have been upheld and maintained since the 1950s in some cases, and for 40 years, especially since the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been a member of the European Union. Both Scotland's and Northern Ireland's resident populations voted an overwhelming majority (over 60% in both cases) to stay within the European Union. He did not vote in the 'BRexit' referendum of 2016. As a resident of Helsinki, Finland, he could not vote in the Scottish independence referendum of 2014.
The title of the poetic text borrows from contemporary online videos and writings of deep ecological activist and buddhist scholar Joanna Macy, with her conception of 'Active Hope' and 'The Great Turning'. For example this one linked, circa 2009: https://youtu.be/vzmjF1jE2K0?t=342
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